sinfonia

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sin·fo·ni·a / ˌsinfəˈnēə/ • n. Mus. a symphony. ∎  (in the 17th and 18th centuries) an orchestral piece used as an introduction, interlude, or postlude to an opera, oratorio, cantata, or suite.

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sinfonia (It.). Symphony.
1. Symphony.

2. Bach's term for his 3-part inventions.

3. Name given in Baroque period to orch. piece which served as 3-movt. introduction to opera, suite, or cantata, i.e. an early form of ov. Operatic sinfonia standardized c.1690 by A. Scarlatti into so-called ‘Italian overture’.

4. In 20th cent., often means a chamber orch., e.g. Northern Sinfonia, English Sinfonia.